Thomas Friedman has an op-ed at the New York Times titled How About Better Parents? in which he discusses that teachers can "make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement."
He writes about a Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA which recently published the following conclusion.
“Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all. The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background. Parents’ engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA.”
Schleicher explained to me that “just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring.
Read full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-about-better-parents.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general
Emunah Braverman writes an open letter to teachers on the eve of parent-teacher conferences scheduled to take place this week. She cautions the teachers to focus not only on the weaknesses and flaws but also to see the positive. She concludes with the following advice.
"I certainly don’t want to shirk my parental responsibilities and place everything on the school. And the reverse is also true. If you take the time to appreciate and understand my child, my gratitude will know no bounds and I will excited to work with you in helping her achieve her potential.
But if you are only harsh and critical – well, I won’t respond in kind but I will probably think you should have chosen another profession."
So, let's not blame one side or the other. Let's join in partnership to produce children who thrive and achieve to the best of their abilities.
Incidentally, I came across an article about Mr. Friedman which provides elucidating details about his life including that his sister became religious and "works for a Lubavitch Jewish day school, where her husband also teaches."
A childhood friend described him "as a '20-year overnight sensation. . . . Tom has become really smart,” he says. “I don’t know that he started out really smart. Now he has a gift because he’s worked hard for 20 years.'”